Unhappy with Spotlight because it does not find files that you know to be there? Use FAF to find every file on your disks, including those usually hidden. By file name, date, size, and even plain text content (see note below).
• Recover a file whose name you partially remember?
• See what files got changed in the past 5 minutes?
• Find all the large files on your disk?
• Uninstall software that leaves files in hidden places where Spotlight doesn't look?
• Search with regular expressions?
Find Any File (FAF) is the perfect tool for these tasks.
You can even search on disks that are not indexed by Spotlight, including server volumes.
Find Any File can find files that Spotlight doesn't, e.g. those inside bundles and packages, and inside system folders that are usually excluded from Spotlight search.
Contrary to Spotlight, it does not use a database but instead searches the data on disk directly. This lets you search for file properties such as name, creation and modification dates, file size, even plain text inside files.
Another useful feature is its hierarchical results view (see screenshots). It lets you view the found items within their respective folders, making it often much easier to browse through 100s of found items.
•• Note ••
FAF can not search file content other than plain (unformatted) text - and even that is rather slow, so don't expect this to be a good replacement for Spotlight.
For searching text in Mails, Word and PDF documents, and similar files, Spotlight is still the best tool (whose results can be enhanced with Tembo, also available in the App Store).
•• Here's what users say about FAF ••
“FAF goes where Spotlight's can't easily reach.”
“As the administrator for about 50 school Macs, I often need to look for some file misplaced by a novice or, while troubleshooting a system, I often need to search for obscure operating system files. Find Any File is in my arsenal of tools when things files or folders go astray.”
“I use it when I want to find a specific kind of file or to see and eliminate or compare the double and redundant files. I surely use it 4-5 times a week.”
“I keep FAF as an icon in the toolbar of every Finder window. When I have to actually find something, I use FAF instead of the Finder.”
• Does not remove Volumes from Login Items any more.
• Fixes a crash when using the Preview Grid view.
• Fixes a rare crash inside [SUUpdater checkForUpdatesInBackground]
Version 2.1 (released 9 Nov 2019)
• Fixes an issue where searching entire volumes could miss some items, especially on fast network volumes such as Helios AFP servers.
• Fixes some Spotlight search issues on Synology NAS volumes (called Universal Search there).
• Searching for text content with non-latin characters (such as the Cyrillic script) does not freeze the app any more.
• The manual (see Help menu, "Documentation") has been much improved, explaining the search options in more detail.
• The Edit commands "Copy" and "Copy Names" have been exchanged to match the Finder's commands better, now called "Copy" and "Copy Columns".
• Fixed: When using the Service "FAF: Search Folder(s)" from the Finder, the search doesn't start on its own any more.
• Fixes a crash when searching for dates.
• English wording for some search rules has been updated to match Spotlight's.
• File names are again painted in their Label colors as it was in version 1.
• Brings back version 1's ability to search for Owner ID and Group ID (hold down the option key when clicking the "Name" popup).
• Fixed: After moving or deleting files, FAF now always updates the results accordingly, even on network volumes.
• Fixes a crash when sorting the column showing the full path.
• Fixes a crash when using "Make Invisible".
• Fixes searching "in Finder selection".
• Brings back all Services in Context menu, like in version 1.
• During QuickLook, using the cursor keys doesn't close the window any more.
• Fixes sorting of Kind column.
• Completes missing localizations in French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Ratings and ReviewsSee All
Find Any File makes getting a specific file’s location much easier than the default OS X find. I usually have multiple volumes mounted and I’m impressed it’s as fast as it is. I just found out I can set two volumes to be searched without searching any of the others by dragging their icons from the Finder to the “Find Items” section in the search box, then select File -> Save as Default Search, and now those two volumes can be selected independently of all the others.
I don’t think it finds files faster than Spotlight, which someone else wrote, because you’re just never going to beat pre-indexed searches, but it’s very fast and at least I know when FAF is searching in realtime as opposed to an index, it’s finding everything at that point in time. I’m not always sure about how up-to-date Spotlight’s index is at any given time (on the start-up volume, yes; but for recently mounted volumes, that’s where I’m not sure it’s been indexed).
Saving default searches is vastly easier than using OS X’s save search function.
Developer responded to my question about how to search some but not all volumes nearly instantaneously, so for the price, definitely worth five stars.
Fast, easy to use, very very useful
There are times when one wants to find a file anywhere on a disk. Find Any File makes this very easy and quick.
For example, as I’ve migrated from machine to machine sometimes there are little helper apps, or files in non user spaces that have hung around long past their useful life. I noticed on my new Macbook Pro the fans were not operating correctly. Years ago when I put an SSD in my iMac I purchased a fan control program to make sure the device stayed cool as the SSD was a non standard apple component. When I moved to a Macbook Pro I had long forgotten about that utility….until I noticed one of the fans wasn’t operating correctly. After a little research I remembered the old program, but couldn’t remember the name, so I searched for the word “Fan” with Find any file. The components came up, I recognized them for what they were and deleted them. Problem solved.
I use Find any File on all my machines, I don’t use it very often, but when I do, it saves me time and pain over and over and over again.
Replaces Agent Ransack from Windows world
This tiny, elegant application is gonna rock my world! I love Mac hardware but have struggled to settle into the software side after a lifetime in Windows. The OS X Finder has been one of my greatest frustrations for several reasons but the real killer was that it would not search my large NTFS partition on my MacBook. I run a Parallels VM and have mostly worked in Windows. But I’d like to get rid of all of that and fully embrace OS X, something that seemed more within reach with a recent release of one of my critical apps that solved problems with its Mac version.
But Agent Ransack is a miracle of efficiency on Windows systems and I often use it in place of Windows Explorer. My likes aside, Finder and Spotlight would not even search filenames on my NTFS partition. This baby does that for me and is also capable of listing files with a flatened directory structure, which I use a lot. This is the essential piece for me that will allow me to run without the Windows VM most of the time. Thanks guys!
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.